Human cytochrome P-450 metabolism of retinals to retinoic acids

Qing Yu Zhang, Deborah Dunbar, Laurence Kaminsky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

84 Scopus citations


Retinoic acids have important pleiotropic biological effects and thus the potential for human cytochrome P-450s (CYPs) to mediate retinoic acid synthesis was investigated. We examined the retinoic acid synthetic activity of human cDNA-expressed CYP1A1, 1A2, 1B1, 2A6, 2B6, 2C8, 2C9, 2C19, 2D6, 2E1, 3A4, 3A4+ cytochrome b5 (b5), 3A5, and 4A11, expressed individually in insect cells together with NADPH-P-450 reductase. Only CYP1A1, 1A2, 1B1, and 3A4+b5 converted all-trans-retinal (20 μM) to all-trans-retinoic acid with turnover numbers of 0.53, 0.18, 0.20, and 0.41 nmol/min/nmol P-450, respectively. With 9-cis-retinal as substrate, CYP1A2 exhibited a turnover number of 1.58 nmol/min/nmol P-450 whereas CYP1A1, 2C19, and 3A4+b5 had turnover numbers of 0.40, 0.27, and 0.41 nmol/min/nmol P-450, respectively. For CYP3A4 activities with both retinals, b5 was required. Kinetic analyses revealed that CYP1A1, 1A2, and 3A4+b5 with all-trans-retinal had apparent K(m) values of 55, 356, and 255 μM, and V(max) values of 2.0, 8.3, and 6.3 nmol/min/nmol P-450, respectively, and with 9-cis-retinal had K(m) values of 77, 91, and 368 μM, and V(max) values of 2.7, 9.7, and 7.6 nmol/min/nmol P- 450, respectively. The 9-cis retinoic acid synthetic activity of a group of 12 human liver microsomes correlated only with the CYP1A2 activity (r = 0.96), implicating CYP1A2 in human liver microsomal metabolism of 9-cis- retinal to 9-cis-retinoic acid. These studies have indicated that human CYPs are capable of catalyzing retinal to retinoic acid metabolism, but the physiological relevance of this metabolism is still unclear.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)292-297
Number of pages6
JournalDrug Metabolism and Disposition
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2000
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Pharmaceutical Science


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